LegCo Paper No. HB 99/95-96
Ref : HB/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee
(1995/96 Session)

Minutes of 5th meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Friday, 3 November 1995 at 4:50 p.m.

Present :

    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Absent :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP

In attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)













In the absence of the Chairman from Hong Kong, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Deputy Chairman, took the chair.

(1) Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting held on 27.10.95

(LegCo Paper No. HB 68/95-96)

The minutes were confirmed.

(2) Matters arising

(a) Land Survey (Fees) Regulation - tabled in LegCo on 18.10.95, and Land Survey Ordinance (28 of 1995) (Commencement) Notice 1995 - tabled in LegCo on 11.10.95

The Deputy Chairman reported on behalf of Mr Edward HO. He said that Mr HO had advised that he had no further queries on the subsidiary legislation.

Members agreed to support the subsidiary legislation.

(b) Election of Committee on Members’ Interests

The Deputy Chairman invited Members to elect another Member to replace Mr MOK Ying-fan. Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee was nominated and accepted the nomination. The Deputy Chairman declared that Mr LIU was elected.

(c) Briefing to LegCo Members by the Chief Secretary

The Deputy Chairman informed Members that the first briefing by the Chief Secretary would be held on 8.12.95. He invited Members to propose topics for the briefing. Ms Emily LAU suggested and Members agreed that the briefing should discuss :

  1. the progress of the work of the Joint Liaison Group; and
  2. the work of the Government Liaison Office and its working relationship with the Preparatory Committee.

(3) Legal Adviser’s report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 2.11.95

(LegCo Paper No. LS 18/95-96)

The Deputy Chairman introduced the Legal Adviser, Mr Jonathan DAW, to Members.

The Legal Adviser referred Members to the Paper and drew their particular attention to items 1, 2 and 3 which dealt with renewal of the licences of Asia Television Limited and Television Broadcasts Limited.

Members noted that the effective date of this amendment Regulation should be 1 December 1995, instead of 1 December 1996 (para 2 of item 3 refers).

Mrs Selina CHOW said that the industry had expressed its concern about the increase in the annual licence fee from $1,000 to over $1,000,000. She suggested and Members agreed to set up a subcommittee to study items 1-3. The following Members agreed to join: Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Albert CHAN Wai-yip and Ms Emily LAU.

Members agreed to support the remaining items of subsidiary legislation.

(4) Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. HB 65/95-96)

Members noted the position report.

(5) Legal Adviser’s report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order No. 42(3A)

(a) Costs in Criminal Cases Bill

(LegCo Paper No. LS 20/95-96)

The Legal Adviser said that the purpose of the Bill was to provide in one piece of legislation matters relating to award of costs for and against a defendant in criminal cases. The Bill also introduced the provision of "wasted costs" in criminal cases.

Miss Margaret NG supplemented that the Bill raised important issues of policy in the administration of justice and the legal service. She suggested and Members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following Members agreed to join : Mrs Miriam LAU, Ms Emily LAU, Mr Albert HO Chun-yan and Miss Margaret NG.

(b) Employment (Amendment) (No. 4) Bill 1995

(LegCo Paper No. LS 19/95-96)

Referring Members to the Paper, the Legal Adviser said that the Bill was to raise the level of maximum fines under the Employment Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation and to align

the amount of fines to the levels specified under the Criminal Procedure Ordinance. The LegCo Brief issued by the Administration provided some examples of the offences. The Administration had agreed to make some amendments to the Chinese text of the Bill in response to comments made by the Legal Service Division.

Mr Michael HO suggested and Members agreed that the Administration should be requested to provide details of the offences concerned to facilitate Members’ consideration. Members agreed to defer decision on this item. The Legal Service Division will submit a further report to Members.

(c) Lands Tribunal (Amendment) Bill 1995

(LegCo Paper No. LS 17/95-96)

The Legal Adviser introduced the Paper. Members agreed to support the Bill which was technical in nature.

(6) Business for the LegCo sitting on 15.11.95

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB 112/95-96)

Members noted that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) question had been tentatively scheduled.

(b) Statement

No statement had yet been notified.

(c) Government Motion

No motion had yet been notified.

(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

(i) Land Registration (Amendment) Bill 1995

(ii) Merchant Shipping (Registration) (Amendment) Bill 1995

(iii) Town Planning (Amendment) Bill 1995

The Deputy Chairman informed Members that the above bills would be introduced into LegCo on 15.11.95 and considered by the House Committee on 17.11.95.

(e) Bill - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading

Air Passenger Departure Tax (Amendment) Bill 1995

The Deputy Chairman said that Members had, at the last meeting, agreed to support the Bill.

(f) Motion debate on "Old Age Pension Scheme" - to be moved by Mr LEE Cheuk-yan

Referring to Mr Martin LEE’s proposal of holding a third motion debate at the LegCo sitting on 8.11.95 (item 9(a) below) which was related to this item, the Deputy Chairman asked Mr LEE to brief Members on his proposal at this juncture.

Mr LEE said that, in view of the public concern about the proposals made by the Legal Sub-group of the Preliminary Working Committee, he felt that LegCo should have a motion debate on the subject as soon as possible. Both Ms Christine LOH and Mr Albert HO had put in applications to move motions for debate on the subject. Ms LOH had been unsuccessful on two occasions. Mr LEE said that his original proposal was to seek the House Committee’s agreement for Mr Albert HO to move an additional motion for debate on the subject at the LegCo sitting on 8.11.95. However, having considered the views of some Members on the timing of the debate, he would like to revise his proposal and suggest a debate at the sitting to be held on 15.11.95. He had consulted Mr LEE Cheuk-yan who had secured a debating slot at that sitting. Having obtained the consent of Mr LEE Cheuk-yan to vacate the slot, he asked the House Committee’s agreement for Mr Albert HO to take over Mr LEE Cheuk-yan’s debating slot at the sitting on 15.11.95, and for Mr LEE Cheuk-yan’s motion debate on "Old age pension scheme" to have priority. The wording of Mr HO’s motion debate was tabled at the meeting (Appendix).

In response to the Deputy Chairman, Assistant Secretary General 2 said that the deadline for giving notice of motions for the sitting on 15.11.95 had expired on 30.10.95. If the House Committee agreed to Mr LEE’s proposal, the President’s approval to dispense with the required notice of Mr HO’s motion would be sought. Deputy Secretary General advised that the ballot for the motion debates for the sitting to be held on 22.11.95 had already been held. As Mrs Selina CHOW had been unsuccessful in three consecutive ballots, she would be allocated

one of the two slots for debates at the sitting on 29.11.95. If Mr LEE Cheuk-yan was given priority allocation of a debating slot at the same sitting, no ballot would be held for the other applications received.

Ms Emily LAU said that, in view of the special circumstances of the issue, she would support Mr Martin LEE’s proposal to allow Mr HO to take over Mr LEE Cheuk-yan’s slot. However, she had reservations about allocating a priority slot to Mr LEE Cheuk-yan. A few Members echoed Ms LAU’s view.

At the suggestion of Mr Albert HO, Members agreed to defer decision to allow time for Mr HO to discuss with Mr LEE Cheuk-yan who was not at the meeting.

Mr Martin LEE advised later at the meeting that Mr LEE Cheuk-yan had agreed to vacate the debating slot in favour of Mr Albert HO on the understanding that he would have to queue up and compete for a fresh slot.

Members agreed to support Mr Martin LEE’s proposal that Mr Albert HO’s motion debate on "Repeal of Bill of Rights proposed by the Legal Sub-group of the Preliminary Working Committee" be held on 15.11.95, in place of Mr LEE Cheuk-yan’s motion debate on "Old age pension scheme", and to recommend to the President that the required notice of Mr HO’s motion be dispensed with.

(g) Motion debate on "Urban renewal policy" - to be moved by
Mr James TO

Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr James TO.

The Deputy Chairman reminded Members that the deadline for notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 8.11.95, and that the usual speaking time and arrangement should apply.

(7) Advance information on motion debates for the LegCo sitting on 22.11.95

(a) Motion debate on "Unemployment benefits"

The Deputy Chairman referred Members to the wording of the motion to be moved by Miss CHAN Yuen-han.

Mr Eric LI said that the wording in the motion seemed to imply that in the Governor’s Policy Address, the Government had agreed to increase the assistance given to the unemployed under the current Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme (CSSA). This contradicted the statement made by the Secretary for Health and Welfare that the Administration would not consider raising the CSSA amount for the unemployed. Other Members concurred and said that the Secretary for Health and Welfare had made her views very clear during the Policy Debate.

Miss CHAN Yuen-han noted Members’ comments and said that the wording of the motion would be refined and re-circulated to Members.

(b) Motion debate on "Monitoring of gas supply and charges"

Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr LAU Chin-shek.

The Deputy Chairman advised the Members concerned that the deadline for giving notice of the above motions was 7.11.95.

(8) Reports by Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

Legislative Council Panels 1995-96 - Terms of Reference

(LegCo Paper No. PL 82/95-96)

Members endorsed the terms of reference of the 18 LegCo Panels.

(9) Any Other Business

(a) Proposed third motion debate on "Proposals by the Legal
Sub-group of the Preliminary Working Committee" at the LegCo sitting on 8.11.95

This item had been dealt with under item 6 (f) above.

(b) Proposed House Committee delegation to observe the hearing of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) to be held in Geneva in mid-November

Referring Members to his Paper, Mr James TO said that the UNCAT would hold a hearing on 17.11.95 to consider the British Government’s report on Hong Kong under the Convention Against Torture in Geneva. The report had been tabled in the Council in the last session and re-circulated to new Members recently. He proposed that a House Committee delegation be sent to Geneva to observe the hearing. He briefly explained his proposal concerning the terms of reference (TOR) of the delegation. He also supplemented that Members of the last LegCo had reached consensus on TOR 2 and 3. On TOR 2, i.e. the setting up of an independent office to investigate complaints against police, a motion debate on the subject had been carried by 32 to 20 votes in LegCo in April 1993. On TOR 3, i.e. implementation of the recommendation made by the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission in 1992 concerning the UK Police and Criminal Evidence Act l984, a motion debate on the subject moved by Mrs Selina CHOW in 1993 had been carried unanimously by the Council.

In response to the Deputy Chairman, Mr TO said that he had not put the proposal to Members earlier as he had just returned from an overseas trip. He had no particular view on the size and budget of the delegation.

The Deputy Chairman said that while TOR 1 was quite straightforward, new Members might not be aware of the background to TOR 2 and 3. In addition, he understood that the Administration seemed to have reservations. A few Members queried the purpose of sending a delegation and the effectiveness of the delegation in achieving TOR 2 and 3. Mr IP Kwok-him said that as he was totally unaware of the details of the proposals, he was in no position to comment. Ms Emily LAU indicated her support for the proposals, but suggested that the House Committee should arrive at some consensus before a delegation could be sent. Mrs Miriam LAU was concerned whether the outcome of the motion debate on TOR 2 could be construed as a consensus reached by the Council.

Mr Albert HO said that the subject had been discussed by the Home Affairs Panel. Members of the Panel were in general agreement that a House Committee delegation should be sent to Geneva. Apart from observing the hearing, the delegation could take the opportunity to provide more information to the UN

Committee members to facilitate their understanding of the situation in Hong Kong. This could in turn facilitate the conduct of the hearing during which the UN Committee members could put questions to the British Hong Kong delegation.

After some further discussion, Members agreed to defer decision on this item until the next House Committee meeting. Mr Albert HO, chairman of the Home Affairs Panel, agreed to hold a briefing on this subject for all interested Members. Mr Michael HO suggested that the Secretariat circulate to all Members relevant papers including details of the two motion debates referred to by Mr TO. Members noted Assistant Secretary General 1’s advice that TOR 2 and 3 were related to the jurisdiction of the Security Panel and the Administration of Justice and Legal Services Panel respectively.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:05 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
8 November 1995

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